So.....I had an IB booking by a guest with 15- 5 star reviews. I knew immediately upon booking that he had not read my property details thoroughly, because I have the following message in there:
**Potential guest- please introduce yourself briefly in your booking message and let me know who will be joining you on your reservation.
Please also confirm that you have reviewed all property details, and acknowledge house rules.
I look forward to hosting you and simply want to make sure that the cabin suits your needs.
IB bookings are required to write a message. His was one short sentence not related to the above. I wrote him back shortly after the booking and asked him nicely if he had reviewed everything. His response was that he had kind of skimmed over it- was there something he needed to know? What followed was a lot of back and forth messaging in which I basically spoon-fed all the property details to him. I'm very upfront in the listing about potential noise, how close the neighbors are, etc. LOTS of back and forth ensued. Mind you, this was well within the 48 hour cancellation window, so he had the opportunity to cancel if something didn't sit right.
My concern was that in HIS reviews of other hosts, it seemed that he always has something critical to say. Given his lack of attention to my listing, I had the feeling I was going to suffer the same fate.
He was pleasant during our messaging, but the whole situation made me nervous. He continued to ask questions until the day before arrival, about things clearly detailed in the listing. Whatever.
I was not on the property during his stay. He was there with his wife. I checked in and he said, "everything is nice- thanks". On checkout day he messaged and thanked me for a wonderful stay. He also asked about turning off a heater. I responded and told him what to do and said thanks. (The instructions are in the house binder, FYI.)
I came back to find the heater not totally off, the outside lights turned completely off (they are labeled "please keep on") and a couple of windows left open. (also in the binder to close windows and lock doors.)
How do I review this guy? Honestly, his lack of attention to the details that are abundantly clear in the listing was pretty annoying. His lack of attention to the very simple check-out instructions was annoying as well.
I obviously haven't gotten to read his review but I'm sure he's found fault with something. I just want to let other hosts know that he's kind of a PIA, and that some sort of criticism (fair or unfair) is likely to follow his stay.
@Kia272, I wouldn't mention that 'some kind of criticism is likely' because you don't really know this for a fact and he hasn't reviewed you yet. If his review of your listing is unfairly negative, you can always respond publicly to that. I would just keep your review of him honest, something like 'Overall, XXX and his wife were good guests, but I had to spend a lot of time ensuring they understood the listing , and they didn't completely follow the house rules, leaving a heater on and windows open. Otherwise, everything was left clean and tidy' (or whatever the case may be).
@Kath9 Thanks for your response. I should have added that he has reviewed me, but I haven't reviewed him, so his doesn't show yet.
I would like to mention something about him not paying attention to the details, but use star ratings to take care of the check-out thing, so maybe a 4* in following house rules. I appreciate your response and will take it into consideration. Thanks!
~Maybe charge $149 for 2 and $199 for 4, for starters. May lead to a better clientele.
~As to review, why encourage a review (by you writing one yourself) when you suspect the guest will tend to be picky. You already have 85 reviews, more than enough.
~No sense worrying about something that hasn't happened. Yet.
@Fred13 Thanks for the suggestion but I'm actually pretty happy with my price point and I think it does weed out the clientele that I don't really want. This guy was actually my target demographic- just high maintenance. He has actually posted a review but because I haven't posted mine it's not up yet.
You're right- I probably would have just not reviewed if he had not posted his. At this point, it is what it is, but I really just want to give other hosts a head's up. This guy's 5 stars didn't ring true to me. Cheers
I would wait now till after the 14th day and use the 'Response' option instead, since you are not sure what the guest will write. The first consideration should be how it effects you, secondly how it effects other hosts.
Btw, many of my guests do the things you mentioned above, and I do let them go otherwise hosting wouldn't be any fun.
@Fred13 I believe that isn't a good option because guests don't see the response unless they click on "see all reviews", and the page isn't conducive to having them do that.
I actually DO let things go and I DO have fun hosting, but what's not fun is having that uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach about a guest, when you have done your best as a host and you still don't know what's going to come out in a review.
It's simply inconsiderate to be that careless on his end, and subsequently not value my time as a host. He also has an established history of criticizing the places he has stayed.
@Fred13 A review response shows on the host's profile page, not the guest's. So using a response as a warning to other hosts doesn't work.
@Kia272 I don't get why you would want to mark down on house rules for the inattentive checkout, but not mention it in the written review. Hosts who don't use IB can't see guest star ratings. We only have the written reviews to decide by.
The main problem which covers all of the issues with this guest is that he doesn't bother to read anything or pay attention to doing what is asked of him. So for a written review, "Guest seemed averse to reading any information on his own, and didn't seem to feel it was necessary, from the listing description to the check-out instructions, requiring time-consuming reitereration of all information that was already provided. The minimal check-out instructions were ignored."
Of course if they left the place clean and any other positives you should work that in as well.
@Sarah977 on the relative scale of possible guest transgressions, this was an annoyance but not what I'd call a serious problem. No damage to my property, no extra cleaning or claims involved. The above seems rather harsh for this situation.
I'm going to try to drop a hint to other hosts about what I experienced, and then let it play out as it will. Thanks for your input!
My point is I wouldn't even bother 'warning' other hosts since they are minor issues. I would rather call them to his attention, privately.
Say it all very politely, and with kindness. Never let them get away with it. It is your home and you decide how much or how little you communicate your expectations.
@Kia272 I had a guest like this last summer. All her previous hosts had given her positive reviews but she had found something to nitpick with every one of them. I'm sure they all felt blind-sided. I wrote (in part), "[Name} had many more requests than usual before her stay, and [s]ome breakage and more clean-up than usual after check-out. Nevertheless a likable guest who is probably more suited to a top-notch hotel than a whole-home Airbnb."
I just looked at her profile. She's stayed at half a dozen Airbnbs since then and has left a stellar review for every host. I hate to say it but she needed to be schooled, and while it wasn't easy to be the one to do it, yes, other hosts, you are welcome.
In your place I would go much lower for communication and house rules, honestly a 1 or a 2. He won't see those stars but it will hold him back from freely booking. In the written review, something about not being big on rules?
@Ann72 Thanks. I'm leaning towards what you are suggesting. It's more for future hosts. What's done here is done. I'll probably mention his not reading the listing thoroughly, and hit the stars for the other stuff.
@Kia272 I would write a review like the one @Ann72 suggested. To compliment your review (and to blow off a little steam) you could always give him some private feedback. Play it off as hosts put a lot of thought and effort into writing their listing descriptions to help answer questions for guests like him. Why is it so hard to read?!
@Emilia42 Thanks. I'm tending towards what @Ann72 suggested. I don't know how well private feedback would work with this guy. I'm just going to ponder a little bit. Relative to all things hosting, I've been pretty lucky with my guests. I do realize that this is pretty minor on the scale of guest transgressions.